Johnny Helms Grand Prix des Gentlemen
Sunday 10th October

Jeff Marshall and Paul Holdsworth (Hounslow & District Wheelers) acquitted themselves with honour in Sunday's first edition of this invitation event by taking the third prize. Their actual time for the 24 miles was 54 minutes 14 seconds.

Some explanation is needed. Johnny Helms was the doyen of cycling cartoonists - he died last November having entertained the readers of the cyclists' bible, currently known as “Cycling Weekly”, for the previous sixty three years. Helms' cartoons showed a complete understanding of the esoteric nature of club cycling and made a big contribution to the strength of that small but resilient world.

The memorial time trial was in the form of a grand prix des gentlemen, where a veteran is paced by a younger and currently faster rider. The result, from the award point of view, is decided on the veterans age standard. This was a charity event in the sense that the prizes, £1000 for first, £500 for second and £300 for third go to a charity nominated by the winner. The £300 won by the Hounslow pair went to the Lifeboat Fund.

This race was run on an invitation basis and attracted a galaxy of former British cycling stars including - Graeme Obree (former world hour recordman), Barry Hoban (seven time Tour de France stage winner), Les West (Twice winner of the Tour of Britain) Yvonne McGregor (Commonwealth Games gold medallist) and many other famous names. Although it may not be quite so satisfying to win on the vets handicap system as to gain an outright victory, in this company it is a great achievement to win a prize under any system. Jeff and Paul came sixth on actual time out of fifty teams entered, and this is an indication of the merit of their ride.

View the full results: Actual time and Vets' Standard

Chris Lovibond